“Oh Daddy, you know better than that,” said Robbie. “The police are our friends remember? You read me about that in my book.”
The others laughed at the little boy’s seriousness and Brenda tossed the basketball into a nearby box.
“Well hello there,” said Sgt. Bill O’Rourke. “Amanda, I’ve got some good news for you. We’ve found your family.”
“You found Amanda’s parents?” asked Brenda.
“No not her parents, but somebody just as good. We found her uncle, Uncle Teddy Younger.
“Well this is certainly a fake,” thought Amanda. “Since I remembered the code name Amanda and chose Younger this isn’t really a relative. Wonder what this guy is up to.” She glanced over at Steve and was pretty sure by the expression on his face that this hadn’t been lost on him.
“Are you sure he’s really Amanda’s uncle?” asked Steve.
“Oh yes,” answered Bill. “He had all kinds of idenfification. He even had some pictures of Amanda when she was a little younger Younger.” He laughed at the joke he had made about Amanda’s last name.
“I don’t remember him at all,” said Amanda. “What if I don’t like him? What if I don’t want to go with him?”
Bill put his arm around her shoulder. “Everything is going to be just fine,” he promised her. “We’ll work slow. Where you took those blows on the head, you may not feel too comfortable going off with him and if you don’t, well, we’ll work slowly. I’m sure that’s what Mrs. Terri will say too. You can go for a short visit, then come back here, then go for a longer visit and come back and
keep that up till you’re living there.”
“Living there and visiting here,” Ken Carter told her. “We aren’t going to just forget about you. You’re part of our family now.”
Amanda smiled and leaned against Bill. “I’ll do just fine,” she thought to herself. “This is going to go just fine. The thing I’ve got going for me is that everyone thinks of me as a kid and they have no idea I’m twenty-six, no idea at all.”
“You and your uncle had just moved into the area,” continued Bill. “That’s why nobody recognized either of you and you’re going to be going to the same school, so you kids will see each other every day, how does that sound?”
“That’s great,” said Sarah and Brenda toge4ther. They looked at each other and laughed. “How’s that for team work?” asked Sarah.
“I’d say it was pretty good and it’s good too that Amanda will still be going to school with us,” said Steve.
“Yeah, it’s pretty good, Manda,” echoed Robbie.
“When will I have to go?” asked Amanda.
“Mrs. Terri will be out to see you with your Uncle tomorrow,” answered Bill. “Maybe seeing him will trigger off something in your memory and you’ll remember him, then I’m sure you’ll feel more comfortable about going with him.”
“Will I go tomorrow?” asked Amanda.
“No, not unless you remember him and want to,” answered Bill. “I promise we’re not going to rush you into this. We’ve checked him out and everything is ok, but we’re going to do this at a pace you’re comfortable with. Ok?”
“Yeah, I guess ok,” answered Amanda. “Boy this is some kind of crooked,” she thought to herself. “But this guy has got to be some kind of high up crook to be pulling this off. I wish I could remember the rest of my code name to get hold of the chief and find out what he wants me to do. I’ll do ok, I can look after myself, but I’d sure feel better if I knew Operation Themis was looking after me too.”
Steve handed Amanda a note later. She took a quick look and grinned. “So he figured out the code on his own,” she thought. “Good job. I know a number of adult agents who haven’t been able to figure it out this quickly and certainly not without some help. After I get my life back on track, I’ll have to talk to the chief about him. Maybe we can use him, give him some early training. Looks to me like he might be a real asset to Operation Themis someday.”
When she got a chance, Amanda read the note carefully. “UQOGVKPI UETGYA OGGV NCVGT” She sat down at her computer and sent Steve an email. “Thanks for the directions, homework will go much easier. I agree with your directions.”
She hit send and then checked to see if she had any email. “That
ought to work ok,” she thought to herself. “Simple message about homework.”
“There, that ought to do it,” said Amanda to herself, later that night. She looked at her bed. The way that she had folded that extra blanket, she felt sure that anyone looking into her room would be sure that someone was in the bed.
Amanda tiptoed down the hall to the empty room at the end and slipped out the window and into the sprawling tree outside. Just as Steve had done a few minutes earlier. “I’ll just pull the window down except for about half an inch, so that it will look as if it is shut,” she thought. She pulled the window down and suddenly it slipped, closing completely.
“Oh no!” thought Amanda, as she tried to open the window and found that she couldn’t. “Now I’ve got us in a fine mess. What will Dad Ken and Mom Kate think about this if we can’t get back in and they find us out here? Especially both of us because Steve is out here too.” Her twenty-six year old mind thought about this. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she thought.
Quickly she climbed down the tree and hurried to meet Steve as arranged.
“Ok, what do you think this is all about?” asked Steve, once they were both well hidden in the meeting place. “Younger is just a name you made up, so something’s pretty rotten here. This guy using the name Younger has to be a fake and you could be in serious danger.”
“Yes I know,” answered Amanda. “And I’m going to need you to be ready to help me if I need it. This guy must know something about me but I don’t know what. I just wish my brain would let me remember the rest of my code name and some other things so that I could get in touch with the chief. This guy may be from the one they call the boss, he may even be the boss himself.”
“Now who’s the boss?” asked Steve. “You told me about the chief, the head of Operation Themis, is this another name for the same fellow?”
“No, this is the exact opposite,” answered Amanda. “He is our country’s greatest enemy.”
“Do you think maybe you should tell Dad Ken or Sgt. O’Rourke that he’s got to be a fake?” asked Steve. “I mean, you’re just a kid and you could get hurt in this mess.”
“But that’s just it,” answered Amanda. “You’re forgetting, I’m not just a kid. I may look like a kid now but I’m still twenty-six years old and I’ve had all kinds of special training as a government spy. The question is, does this Uncle Teddy Younger know that? He obviously knows something but I don’t know what or how much.”
“Could he possibly be someone from Operation Themis, sent to rescue you or whatever it ought to be called?” asked Steve.
“No, I don’t think so,” answered Amanda. “They wouldn’t be looking for me as an eleven year old. They’d expect me to contact them with my code name and all I can remember is Amanda I’ve got to figure out a way to contact them and convince them who I am. I really may need your help. I might not be able to explain but just ask you to do some things for me without asking any questions. Can you do that?”
Steve hesitated for a moment, then nodded. “As long as I remember that you’re really an adult and a well trained government agent, yes I can,” he told her. “I’ll be ready and willing to do anything you say.”
“Thank you,” said Amanda. “I may need you to do just that.”